Who’s Gonna Fill Their Legendary Shoes?
Of all the wannabe outlaws on country radio today, none of them has the genuine against-the-grain lifestyle of Toby Keith. Here’s a guy who truly does things his own way. He cares not for the Nashville scene, choosing to make his home in Oklahoma and thus shying away from most Music City industry events, and even less for awards. When the video for “Red Solo Cup” was nominated for a CMA award in 2012, Toby told CW, “Hell no, I ain’t showing up. I gotta go get a root canal that day—or something fun.” But while “Solo Cup” and even current single “Drinks After Work” exhibit Toby’s winking side, those songs don’t typify the artist. He’s at his best when singing heavier fare like “Hope on the Rocks” or “Cryin’ for Me (Wayman’s Song),” a tribute to his late pal, athlete/musician Wayman Tisdale. If Toby were to cease recording right now—though we doubt he’d ever stop touring, especially to entertain troops with the USO—his would still be a catalog as deep as his voice. Which, while we’re at it, is near the top of today’s male singers.
photo courtesy UMG
In this special Country Weekly cover story, we profile some of today’s most capable artists—the Veterans, the Journeymen, the Hopefuls and the Promising—and take a look ahead down country’s road.